HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
THE BOOK OF AGECROFT COLLIERY SALFORD
 

Star date: 12th October 2013

THE LAST PIT IN THE VALLEY BY PAUL KELLY

The Last Pit In The Valley
Paul Kelly
Unity Publishing Project free

This has been the year of commemorating Agecroft Colliery. We've had a new memorial on Agecroft Road, the recent exhibition at St Augustine's Church. Now get the book by ex-Agecroft miner, Paul Kelly.

It's packed with everything you need to know about Salford's incredible mining history and loads of anecdotes and asides, from Eric Morecambe working here, to the original of expressions like `shut yer trap'…

Full review here…


The Last Pit In The Valley Irwell Valley Mining Project Agecroft Colliery
click image to enlarge

Since it shut in 1990, Agecroft Colliery, once central to Salford's heavy industry, has slowly disappeared from public consciousness. Demolished, along with the adjacent stunning cooling towers, there was nothing there at all to remind future generations of the men, women and children who toiled underground to bring back the `black gold' that powered the Industrial Revolution. This year all that changed, thanks to the Irwell Valley Mining Project.

In the summer a memorial at the pit's former entrance on Agecroft Road was unveiled (see here), and last month saw a major exhibition of photos, artefacts and oral memories of the mine at St Augustine's Church (see here). To coincide with the exhibition, a new book was launched called The Last Pit In The Valley by ex-Agecroft miner Paul Kelly, which is now available, free, to the wider public.

The 48 page paperback book basically covers everything from Agecroft's history, beginning with its origins as a mine from 1844 to 1932, to its `modern' incarnation from 1960 to its death in 1990.

The great thing about Paul's book is that it's not a stuffy history, like so many heritage books can be, it's more a bloke telling how it was down the pub…the shocking conditions in the Victorian era pit, where children as young as five would sit in the damp and darkness opening and closing trap doors to prevent precious air being lost from circulating around the pit. That's where the expression `shut yer trap' comes from. Paul also explains the pit origins of `shut yer gob', `stint' and `pack it in'

The Last Pit In The Valley basically takes you thousands of feet underground, below Salford Precinct, Hope Hospital, Moorside School, Worsey, Eccles, Swinton, Weaste and well beyond, explaining how giant coal pillars were left to support buildings and how the miners had to use `man riders', or conveyor belts to get back near the surface.

It's information, heritage and history – Eric Morecambe training in Salford as a Bevan Boy, George Stevenson and son Robert (The Rocket) working at Pendleton pit as engineers - but it's also his own personal story, coming from a family of miners…from going to visit his dad, Ivor, on the picket line during the 1972 strike, to standing on the picket line himself as a miner in 1984, getting punched in the face by the police and losing his front tooth.

Paul's first experience of the `cage', which dropped miners down thousands of feet to the coal face, "felt as though my stomach was being driven through my head"; his `snap', or meal break, was jam butties covered in coal dust, washed down with warm water; and swear words were the norm… "In the first few months I lost count of the number of times `I didn't know who my dad was'…A miner had to develop a thick skin and you had to join in".

After shifts, "I would jog home, spitting the black dust out and clearing my chest as I breathed the lovely fresh air and felt the wind on my face"…but… "the dirt never fully left a miner's body. It stayed trapped in ears, eyes and nose and was constantly coughed up".

Hot, dangerous, freezing, damp working conditions were the norm at Agecroft but, throughout "A voice in my head would say `A worthwhile job'" writes Paul. And, as he also writes, the 1984 strike "was not about money but about the survival of the coal industry and the safe-guarding of the nation's energy needs for the future".

The miners "found themselves against the state, the police, a biased media and the entire security services" and the Conservative Government's "maniacal mission" to defeat the NUM converted many coal burning power stations to gas burners… "This short sighted plan squandered the North Sea Gas Fields…which would have lasted 200 years for domestic use".

As a direct result of Thatcher's attack, Agecroft shut in 1990.

"I hope this book will educate and remind people that, not very long ago, this area of the Irwell valley had a thriving mining community" writes Paul in his intro "a community which took pride in its work".

A well recommended read...

The Last Pit In The Valley by Paul Kelly (Unity Publishing Project) is available free as it was funded by The National Lottery as part of the Irwell Valley Mining Project.

The book will be available from the Salford Star stall at the Kersal Moor `Magic On The Moor' day tomorrow (Sunday 12th October 1-4pm). It is also available from Saffron Restaurant on Cheetham Hill Road (old Cheetham Hill Town Hall) or via the Salford Star (£1.20 p and p) send us an email info@salfordstar.com)

While the book is free, people can make donations to the Irwell Valley Mining Project's future work.

 

 

 

 


 

wrote
at 05:00:44 on 16 March 2018
Do any one know whereabouts of paul spencer worked in agecroft in the 70s
 
Marian Cosgrave wrote
at 14:18:06 on 25 January 2018
Did a man named James Finnegan from Ireland work there in the 30s 40s 50s 60s.
 
don't forget the past wrote
at 07:52:46 on 27 October 2013
I seem to remember that Agecroft was a scab pit, who continued to work throughout the strike.... the scabs got what they deserved
 
Alice Searle wrote
at 20:47:10 on 12 October 2013
I would like to recommend Paul's book to you. If you still remember the pleasure of sitting by a coal fire after a day's work, or coming home from school to the comfort of toasting a slice of bread on glowing embers, then you will appreciate this book. It will remind you of the discomfort and dangers that miners had to face to 'win' the coal. The fact that they spend most of their days without sunlight and fresh air is sufficient for me to appreciate what they gave up for my comfort. Then, of course, there is the economic value to our economy. Much to think about. Get one, read it and remember. They are free, so no excuse.
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Giraffe
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING
How many of these people complaining will go out and vote labour in the next election? The only way to stop this vote them out and... [more]
article: COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Bob makes sense but after the Westminster shambles this week who knows how the public will vote come elections. Labour may be thro... [more]
article: STRANGE HEADLINES AND CUTS QUOTAS AT SALFORD CITY COUNCIL
Rossi,what do I know about you? I) You've got a personality disorder. II) You post views that you don't believe in ! III) You cra... [more]
article: ‘CONCERN’ OVER SALFORD CITY COUNCIL NURSERIES
Have our council not learned any lessons about outsourcing? Urban vision? Carrilion? Can these people not come up with some scheme... [more]
article: COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING
What a nice bunch of pleasant type dissidents you seem to have here. They are all wasting their time here though. Dennetts mob wil... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

ECCLES HOMELESS SHELTER COURT CASE SET FOR END OF JANUARY

Star date: 18th January 2019

TOOTHBRUSHES AND SOCKS FOR THE HOMELESS

On 9th January at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the judge allowed an eight day extension for those homeless people currently occupying the old doctor's surgery in Eccles. The case has now been set for the end of January, giving them an extra two weeks to prepare a legal defence.

Meanwhile this week, the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, which is helping the Shelter, took delivery of loads of pairs of thick winter socks and around one hundred toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes donated towards its new Medical and Dental Surgery for the homeless and ex-offenders.

Full details here...

SALFORD GRADE II LISTED VICTORIA THEATRE STEP CLOSER TO BEING SAVED

Star date: 17th January 2019

NEW OWNER CONSIDERS RESTORATION PLANS FOR LOWER BROUGHTON THEATRE

After Lower Broughton's 'at risk' Grade II listed Victoria Theatre was sold last year, there were fears that it would be pulled down for development but the Salford Victoria Theatre Trust has today announced that its new owner "has engaged with the group to seek out a way forward, even vowing to consider plans to restore it for its original purpose".

The Trust is now putting together a business plan and pitch to present to the owner at the end of the month, with a meeting planned with Salford City Council next month to discuss the theatre's future.

Full details here...

COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING

Star date: 16th January 2019

'IT'S THROWING RESIDENTS TO THE WOLVES OF RAMPANT DEVELOPMENT'

Before a full meeting of Salford Council this morning, residents campaigning against development on green spaces in the city held a demonstration outside the Civic Centre.

Representatives of campaigns including from Campbell Road, Duncan Matheson, Walkden and Buile Hill Park then went into the meeting to hear City Mayor, Paul Dennett, say that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was "protecting green belt and green spaces", after Carol Boyce of Saving Our Neighbourhood had accused the Council of "throwing residents to the wolves of rampant development".

Full details here...

NEVER MIND THE BREXITS HERE’S THERESA PUPPET BY CABINET OF MILLIONAIRES

Star date: 16th January 2019

SALFORD ACTOR CLAY WHITTER STARS IN THERESA VIDEO

As Theresa May balances on the political precipice, Cabinet of Millionaires has issued its Theresa track and video which sonically destroys her policies on homelessness, austerity and more.

Theresa stars Salford artist and actor, Clay Whitter, as a homeless bloke trying to make a buck out of a dancing Theresa puppet – it says it all, never mind the Brexits.

Full details here...

‘CONCERN’ OVER SALFORD CITY COUNCIL NURSERIES

Star date: 14th January 2019

'CONCERN' AS SALFORD COUNCIL NURSERIES PUT OUT TO TENDER

In a letter to Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, the Save Our Salford Nurseries Campaign has expressed concern that the uncertainty and "slow progress" over the future of the five outstanding Council nurseries "has had a significant impact on the staff and service".

The nurseries were put out to tender last month, and the Campaign, while inviting the Mayor to a meeting at the end of this month, warns him that "A privatised option has been shown to lead to problems of cost, delivery and long term viability".

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx